Five months before the Nov. 15 municipal election, two candidates have stepped forward to say they will run for council: former councillor Kristi Wells and current Councillor Bob Lorriman.
Wells and Lorriman are the first two to announce their candidacies for Whistler council. Mayor Ken Melamed announced in February he would seek re-election.
“I have certainly missed being involved in that capacity,” said Wells on Tuesday, June 24, after announcing her candidacy.
Wells did not want to go into detail about why she was running, but said: “I feel that I have a lot of experience to offer, particularly in the financial and business side, with 12 years of experience on council.”
Wells served on council for four consecutive terms until 2005, when she ran for mayor against seven other contenders, including Melamed.
She added that she has been encouraged by many community members and some current council members to get involved in local politics again.
Nomination papers do not need to be filed until September, and most councillors are keeping tight-lipped about their plans. Of the six councillors, only Lorriman has made a definitive statement.
“I am planning on running,” said Lorriman on Monday, June 23.
Lorriman is finishing up his first term as a councillor and said he decided to run again because he really believes in what council is doing and wants to continue that.
“The one thing that really drives me to try and stay involved is economic sustainability. I hope that is something we as a community have more and more dialogue on so we can move forward,” he said.
Other issues the councillor mentioned he would like to focus on during his campaign are public engagement and maximizing the benefits of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Lorriman added that it would be a “great honour” to sit at the council table again with Melamed.
“Last council, I think if you talk to anybody, was pretty dysfunctional. That really concerns me. I would hate to be part of a dysfunctional team like that… I think a lot of credit goes to Ken on that,” said Lorriman.
“He has been very inclusive of everybody and I think you see it at the council meetings, He tries to keep people on track and not go on in umpteen different directions.”
So far, Melamed remains the only candidate for mayor.
Among the other members of council, three said they are undecided about whether they will seek re-election.
“I’m firmly on the fence,” announced Councillor Eckhard Zeidler.
“I’ve got some business interests and I am going to see how that goes and whether that leaves me the kind of time that I feel I need to serve the community properly as councillor.”
Councillor Ralph Forysth echoed those comments and the time commitment council requires.
“I have decided to take a good deal of time off this summer to spend time with my family and reflect on what I’ve been able to accomplish, and what I might be able to accomplish in the future, and to hear from the community what they think,” said Forsyth.
“My family is 100 per cent supportive of my role on council, but it does require a lot of time away from my wife and young boys. I will soon begin meeting with some close friends and supporters on what kind of support I might enjoy, and how I might best serve the comment.”
Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden also said she is undecided on her future plans, but said she expects to announce her decision in the next few weeks.
Both Councillors Tim Wake and Gordon McKeever said firmly this week that they did not want make any statements yet about whether they’ll run for council again.
“I’d rather not be listed as undecided. I am just not ready to tell you yet,” said McKeever.
Wake added he would answer the question in September when the nomination period roles around between September 30 and October 10.
Former two-term council Ted Milner also confirmed rumours this week that he is “heavily considering” running for the position of councillor in November.
“My background is finance, investment banking and capital projects,” said Milner.
“That is what I do and that is why I have been taking a look at this, because I think I can help. We are in a period of a lot of capital projects and a lot of decisions seem to be made in isolation. We need to look at the big picture, not only the Olympics but afterwards.”
He added: “I have been talking to people to see if I’ve got support, and that is why there are some rumours. I’ll make my final decision shortly, but I am really taking a hard look.”
Shannon Story, chief election officer for the 2008 local elections, will give a presentation on the election at next council meeting, July 7.